To refer to economists as a priesthood has become a commonplace. Economists practice “a religion couched in the language of mathematics and statistics,” say Yanis Varoufakis. Their church, to carry the symbolism further, has a magnificent gold and marble altar where they offer praise to Capital. And, as in the magnificent centuries-old churches of Europe, there are chapels off to the sides of the main altar.
Sometimes these chapels rival the center altar in effulgent splendor. To the right of the Altar of Capital is the shrine dedicated to the Corporation, where the well heeled worship. And across the nave stands a less splendid chapel – the Chapel of Work. There an unpretentious assemblage meekly gathers to worship. And there also you will find James Livingston raising his finger, hurtling verbal abuse and relieving himself of gas and maybe more.
Livingston’s abusive language against work lurks in the pages of a small book entitled No More Work. Too small to do any damage if thrown, but large enough to pack a verbal blow against all those – on the Right and the Left – who continue to kneel in adoration in the Chapel of Work.
It would be inappropriate to refer to No More Work as a pamphlet, since it is stitched and glued unlike the seventeenth and eighteenth century forms. Livingston’s fervent prose, however, certainly marks him a descendent of the revolutionary pamphleteers in England, France and America.
Oddly enough, his vehemence against work…